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OPINION: The hybrid cloud’s role in supporting innovation


The modern working landscape continues to shift and develop like never before, as a single organization may have team members working simultaneously in-person, from home and from anywhere. While this presents additional challenges with regard to information sharing and privacy, it also opens the door for innovative IT solutions, helping our customers address their IT challenges.

Soon, most Canadian organizations will be operating a hybrid cloud model, leveraging hybrid IT resources in both their data centre and in the public cloud, as it best suits their business. According to CDW Canada’s 2021 Cloud Report, more than half of organizations had already invested heavily in hybrid cloud strategy before the pandemic, and this investment has continued to accelerate over the past 18 months.

By focusing on a hybrid cloud model, organizations have created a synergistic relationship between their on-premises and public cloud infrastructure by leveraging the speed of deployment to the public cloud and the cost-optimized data centre, as needed. However, organizations still have applications that are not ready to be migrated to the public cloud. There are several reasons for this, such as data locality limitations, the desire to avoid the cost of refactoring the application, etc.

Embracing the hybrid cloud

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As found in the CDW Cloud Report, 56 percent of leaders in Canada have committed to hybrid IT and the hybrid cloud model as their go-forward strategy. Not only have our customers embraced the hybrid cloud, but CDW has also taken this shift as an opportunity to change the way we work with our customers and take a holistic hybrid cloud approach to the solutions and services that we offer.

Maturing the hybrid cloud enables innovation

A primary advantage of the hybrid cloud model is how it supports organizations with their application modernization strategies and innovative ways to deliver those applications to their users. Maturing hybrid IT services is the process of updating and integrating apps across the hybrid cloud to ensure that all pieces of the digital infrastructure are available, no matter where the team is located. By building out enterprise platforms that support modern application development while maintaining operational and security controls, organizations can support application transformation initiatives in a controlled and proactive manner. It can be easy to forget how many new applications your business has begun to rely upon. It is even easier to overlook legacy applications that comprise the foundation of your digital infrastructure. It is critical to ensure these applications are well maintained to continue adding features and mitigate potential data security vulnerabilities.

Additionally, maturing the tools and processes used to manage hybrid IT infrastructure helps provide the agility and scalability that businesses need to meet the increased demand from internal and external customers. If moving to a hybrid cloud model, these capabilities must be planned for and implemented in a well-architected manner for a smooth transition.

One major IT issue still facing contemporary organizations is the migration from traditional virtual machine (VM) based workloads to modern workloads, both container and cloud-native. Application transformation, the process of refactoring those applications for containers and cloud native services, has proven to be challenging to the point where many organizations are not even sure where to start the process.

Application modernization does not only benefit an organization internally; there are also external benefits. For example, as referenced in CDW’s hybrid cloud podcast, Microsoft’s Azure study, the Developer Velocity Index, states that organizations who invested in application modernization outperformed others in terms of profitability and time to market for new and innovative products. Overwhelmingly, these businesses are better prepared for application modernization by maturing their hybrid IT platforms and services.

Creating a proactive IT roadmap

There are many ways to mature the current state of your IT services, and planning the road ahead is crucial.

Regardless of where applications are deployed, whether in the public cloud, on-premises or spread between the two, charting a clear course forward based on a comprehensive understanding of the workloads and services that make up those applications is critical.

KJ Burke is the Principal Technology Strategist for Hybrid Cloud at CDW Canada.


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